TAMKUHIRAJ (UTTAR PRADESH): For Uttar Pradesh Congress chief and two time sitting MLA from flood prone Tamkuhiraj assembly seat, Ajay Kumar Lallu, these elections are particularly important. In the earlier two elections, he rode against two different waves (Samajwadi Party in 2012 and Bharatiya Janata Party in 2017) and emerged victorious both the times.
As he walks down the Piparaghat zeroghat to attend his last public meeting, he makes sure to greet every passerby with folded hands. He makes a special stop at all the shops and shares a few words with the shopkeepers and other locals before approaching a tractor trolley that has been converted into a stage, parked on the narrow lanes adjacent to the bundhs on the Gandak river.
He also touches the feet of elders requesting them to vote for him as his supporters cheer in the backdrop.
His last meeting is in the area, which saw the worst floods in the last several decades, leaving the villages lying in the lower areas of the river belt submerged. On a number of occasions, the bundhs were also damaged, resulting in the waterlogging in the nearby villages and destroying crops in the fields.
Taking the microphone in his hand, he urges the voters not to vote for any “outsider” candidates, making pointed references to BJP’s Dr Asim Kumar and highlights the work he did for the assembly seat. He makes it a point to share how he, a man from such a humble background, has been elevated to the position of UP Congress chief.
“My election is being fought by the common people and people from the villages will ensure my victory. The way in which I fought in the last five years over the issues of the public has laid a strong framework of work in the form of road network, bridges, ensuring the bundhs on river Gandak. It is on the basis of my work during Covid pandemic that people will vote for me,” says Lallu, speaking to The New Indian just after the campaigning for the sixth phase ended.
“The issue of floods has been very old in the region, as there are several check bundhs on river Gandak. Earlier, there existed no proper revetment or proper bouldering across the bundhs, which led to flood in the region. So I got proper revetment and bouldering on the bundhs, that has solved the issue of floods in the area,” he shared.
According to Lallu, he had raised the issue of bridges in other parts of this assembly constituency to BJP, which has been neglected by the ruling party due to their “dirty politics”.
On his appeal to people of Tamkuhiraj not to vote for outsiders, the Congress leader said, “This is a fight of local people and I am only requesting them to ensure victory of their son who is available for them round-the-clock.”
Earlier, he spoke about the impromptu visit by Priyanka Gandhi Vadra to his house after campaigning for him in Tamkuhiraj. “She asked to come and meet my parents, as it was a long pending demand of hers — since Covid time — which finally happened on Monday,” he said.
Lallu, who is also known as Congress Street fighter, however, has been in and out of jail for taking on the Yogi Adityanath government.
In 2022 crucial assembly polls, he is up for a strong fight against the BJP that is determined to end its three-decade-long drought of a win here. The BJP has fielded Dr Asim Kumar while the Samajwadi Party has nominated Udaynarain Gupta from the constituency. Tamkuhiraj will go to polls on March 3 in the sixth phase. Counting of votes will take place on March 10.